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Friday, September 28

After a three-year search, a team of researchers has found the location of the Battle of Hungry Hill, the largest battle of the mid-nineteenth century Rogue River Indian Wars. Major clues came in the form an article published in the New York Heraldon November 12, 1855, and a copy of a battle map drawn by Lt. August V. Kautz, a survivor of the battle, in the National Archives. “Our search area covered more than 24 square miles,” said team leader Mark Tveskov of Southern Oregon University. Musket balls and a lead stopper to a gun powder tin helped the archaeologists pinpoint the two areas of fighting. “From a tactical point of view, the Army and militia were routed,” he added.

New analysis by Ulla Mannering of the University of Copenhagen and Bodil Holst of the University of Bergen has shown that a textile fragment discovered in a 2,800-year-old burial in Denmark was woven of imported wild nettles, and not from locally cultivated flax as had been thought. The luxurious fabric had been wrapped around a bundle of cremated remains stored in a bronze urn. Their chemical compositions suggest that the bronze urn and the fabric were manufactured in southwestern Austria. “Maybe he died in Austria and was wrapped in this Austrian urn and Austrian textile and was brought back to Denmark in this condition and then put in a big burial mound. The personal objects that were placed inside the urn together with this textile and the bones indicate that he is a male of Scandinavian origin, but it doesn’t mean that he couldn’t have died abroad,” Mannering explained.

Archaeologists Doug Stenton and Bob Park traveled to King William Island by Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker and helicopter to look for artifacts left behind by Sir John Franklin’s doomed 1845 polar mission. The explorer and his crew were stranded on the island for two years. None of them survived. The “big artifacts” are gone, but they recovered human bones, a human tooth, iron and copper nails, buttons, broken pieces of wood, and scraps of cloth. Stenton thinks that the local Inuit broke apart wooden items in order to extract the useful iron nails.

Drought has lowered the water levels of Poland’s Vistula River, revealing seventeenth-century marble artworks that were looted from the homes of Polish nobility during the seventeenth-century conflict known as the Swedish Deluge. The sculptures had been placed on a barge which sank on the way to Sweden. Archaeologist Hubert Kowalski of the University of Warsaw had been looking for the marbles with sonar and scuba gear, and had found about six tons’ worth. The dropping water level has doubled that number. “We don’t know much about the royal residences from the seventeenth century,” he said.

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